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“Sula” by Tony Morrison Essay


Morrison’s contribution to the literary world is made evident by the production of “Sula,” an interesting novel highlighting various issues that affected the American society in the 70s. This novel brings out significant scenes within the carefully crafted story that gives the readers an opportunity to grasp the lifestyle of the residents of Ohio at the time the novel was written.

Having chosen Ohio as the setting for the story, it becomes clear that the author’s intention was to highlight the issues affecting the entire American society at that time. In a bid to achieve his goals, Morrison has done well to highlight various significant themes in the earlier part of the novel that are important in terms of gaining knowledge concerning the issues that affected the American society at that time.

The first theme that comes out clearly in the early part of the novel is slavery and racism in America. It should be noted that the novel was written in 1973 when the issue of slavery and racism were prominent in the American society. The theme of slavery is indicated clearly by the author through the mentioning of the origin of the two communities- The Bottom (consisting of poor but vibrant black citizens) and Medallion (consisting of the wealthy whites).

The author indicates that “the bottom” community originated as a result of a master tricking a slave into occupying the hilly location as form of a “gift” to the slave. At this point, it can be noticed that the author is suggesting to the readers that slavery was an issue that existed in the society.

On the other hand, Morrison depicts the existence of racism in the American society in the 1970s. This can be seen through the description of the population distribution of the communities that reside in Ohio.

The set-up is based along racial lines. Morrison indicates that “The bottom” was situated on the upper side of the region and consisted of the poor but vibrant black people. In contrast, “Medallion” was situated on the lower side and mainly consisted of the wealthier whites. This is a sign that racism was prevalent in the American society at the time the novel was produced (Morrison 1-10).

The second theme is deceit and exploitation. Morrison has attempted to educate the readers concerning the existence of deceit in the American society. Through the highlighting of events that led to the black community occupying “the bottom,” it becomes clear to the readers that deceit was prevalent in the American society at that time.

As a matter of fact, the author indicates that events were triggered by a decision to trick a black slave by a white master that the hilly side of the region was close to heaven. It was clear to the master that the hilly side was unfavorable for living. This shows deceit. Later, the white community realizes that the hilly side has developed and suddenly their interests for golf arise.

The desire to construct a golf course becomes intense to the white community and this makes them determined to destroy a large portion of the land occupied by the blacks in order to accomplish their dreams. The white community lacks regard for the safety and welfare of the black community. They care about their interests above the security and livelihood of the black community. This shows selfishness and exploitation.

In conclusion, it can be deduced that Morrison has done well to highlight various significant themes in the earlier part of the novel that are important in terms of gaining knowledge concerning the issues that affected the American society in the 1970s. These include: slavery and racism; as well as; deceit and exploitation.

Works Cited

Morrison, Tony. Sula. New York: Vintage, 2004.

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IvyPanda. (2018, October 22). “Sula” by Tony Morrison. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/sula-by-tony-morrison/

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"“Sula” by Tony Morrison." IvyPanda, 22 Oct. 2018, ivypanda.com/essays/sula-by-tony-morrison/.

1. IvyPanda. "“Sula” by Tony Morrison." October 22, 2018. https://ivypanda.com/essays/sula-by-tony-morrison/.


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IvyPanda. "“Sula” by Tony Morrison." October 22, 2018. https://ivypanda.com/essays/sula-by-tony-morrison/.

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IvyPanda. 2018. "“Sula” by Tony Morrison." October 22, 2018. https://ivypanda.com/essays/sula-by-tony-morrison/.

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IvyPanda. (2018) '“Sula” by Tony Morrison'. 22 October.

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